- The Season's Over -

Take the NBA All-Star Game Vote Away from Fans? Maybe, But They Got One Thing Right

January 29, 2010

By Brian Spencer

As you may have heard, reserves for the 2010 NBA All-Star were announced yesterday. David Lee and Josh Smith were notable snubs in the East, while in the West it’s guys like Mr. Big Shot Billups and Monta Ellis that got the shaft.

Perhaps the bigger story leading up to Thursday’s announcement, however, was how wrong it is for Allen Iverson to be starting, even participating, in the game after being voted in by the fans. (At least Tracy McGrady didn’t make it, though we suspect a few of his votes conveniently disappeared to help avoid total embarassment.) Yes, Iverson doesn’t belong there, and the fan vote is problematic. We’ve known that for awhile now.

The fans did get one thing right, however: they didn’t vote in the Cavaliers’ $20 million sideshow attraction, Shaquille O’Neal. Yay fans! And thank god.

With Dwight Howard now, apparently and safely, assuming the mantle of the East’s shoo-in starter at center for as long as he’s in the conference, I suppose the possibility of O’Neal getting wrongfully voted in was a slim one. But, hey, the man’s been to a few All-Star games too many already, and if Iverson can still get voted in, and McGrady can “almost” get voted in (love them Houston Yaos!), there’s no reason to think the long arm of the fan ballot couldn’t have added one more sour note to the All-Star showcase.

In the end, Howard outpaced O’Neal by just over 1.5 million votes; not even close, so again, yay fans! On the other hand, boo fans! There were still over 856k ballots cast for the petulant over-the-hill big man, good for second overall behind Howard and nearly 600k more than Al Horford, who was named to his first all-star game as a reserve.

In case you haven’t been closely following the Cavaliers (nearly impossible if you have cable TV since it feels like 90% of their games are on either TNT, ESPN, NBA TV, and soon ABC), O’Neal has thus far been a colossal disappointment in his first and sure-to-be only season in Cleveland. Some will say the Cavs are “saving him” for the playoffs, and that might be true to some degree, but O’Neal set high expectations for himself and the ever-nervous (and oftentimes defensive) Cavalier fanbase upon his arrival. (“I’m here to win a ring for the king.”)

Shaquille O’Neal Photo Credit: Icon SMI

Yes, The Big Flop’s performance deserves scrutiny, and his mostly ineffectual contributions have had little impact on the Cavaliers’ dominant 36-11 record. Again, I’m not naïve as to the ultimate goal of having him (and his expiring $20 million contract) on the roster, and readily acknowledge that he’ll ultimately be judged as a Cavalier success or failure based on his postseason performances.

But, well… at 37 years old, do we really think he can still magically flip the switch in April? His per-game minutes are the lowest of his career (again, somewhat intentionally), but there’s no getting around the fact that when he has been on the court, he’s been very, very average: O’Neal’s pers of 11.3 points, 54.9% FG, 1.7 offensive boards, 6.6 total boards, and 1.1 blocks are all easily career lows. He’s your fifth-highest paid player in the NBA this season, folks.

Nobody expects the fans to overlook his stats—how can they when O’Neal is just so goddamned funny?—and to instead vote for the more deserving candidates like, well, literally every other center on the ballot (except for maybe Brad Miller… maybe). And fans, again, we do appreciate your stronger love for Howard, really. The next step for the NBA, assuming O’Neal doesn’t do the right thing and hang it up after this season, is to remove him from the ballot altogether next year.

He just doesn’t belong there anymore.

2 CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Jan. 29, 2010 at 11:37am in NBA

Boxscore Breakfast: Tim Duncan Sets A Career High for Rebounds, and Other Oddities from the Week

January 29, 2010

Tim DuncanBy: Zachariah Blott

Duncan does well, even by Duncan standards: After dropping 5 of their previous 6 games, the Spurs decided to beat the hell out of the 29-15 Hawks on Wednesday night, 105-90. It wasn’t even that close; SA sat on a 66-44 halftime lead. And oh yeah, Tim Duncan set a career-high with 27 rebounds. 27 rebounds! Dwight Howard hasn’t had that many since high school, I guess, since even he’s never done that in the league. Averaging 10.8 boards per, Duncan is on his way to a 53rd consecutive season in double digits.

Jeffries hosts a block party, the rarest type of party in NYC: Knicks forward Jared Jeffries rejected 3 shots by the Timberwolves on Tuesday, helping to propel New York to a huge 132-105 victory, just two days after an embarrassing 50-point loss. Why am I mentioning 3 blocks, something Dwight Howard gets during lineup introductions? What’s notable is that Jeffries leads the Knicks with 1.1 blocks per, the first NY player to play more than 25 games in a season and not have a 0 before the blocks decimal since 2004-05, the longest streak of any team. You know, the Knicks, the team with the crazy high payroll that usually overpays for guys with unimportant stats like blocks. Keep it up Jeffries; we’re rooting for you!

Tim Duncan Photo Credit: Icon SMI

Here’s one for the Rebels fans: Third-year Heat center Joel Anthony blocked 7 shots from January 22 to 25: 2 against Cleveland, 1 against Sacramento, and 4 at Washington. The thing is, Anthony doesn’t start. In fact, he only averages 15 minutes per game, but he’s still returning 1.4 shots per game back to their senders, good enough to rank in the top-20 in the NBA. The undrafted big man out of UNLV has had at least 1.3 blocks per each year in the league, and he only plays 15-20 minutes a night. This is why he leads everyone in the NBA with a 7.4% Block Percentage (percentage of opponents’ 2-pt attempts blocked when on the floor).

Ongoing Wall-to-Nets crisis: I discussed my reservations with first-overall-draft-pick-to-be John Wall back in early-December, but the Kentucky PG continues to underimpress when the Wildcats aren’t blowing teams out. Those #1 Cats got their first L on Tuesday, 68-62 at South Carolina, and Wall had 2 assists and 4 turnovers. This marks the 9th of 9 games that Wall’s A-TO rate was ho-hum-to-terrible when UK won by 10 points or less (including this loss).

During those “close” games, Wall had a 5-3 rate against Georgia, and that’s the only time it was better than 1:1. Overall for those 9 contests, Wall has 40 assists and 49 turnovers. Sure he’s had games of 11-2, 14-1, and 16-1, but none of the defenders on Rider, UNC-Asheville, or Hartford (average margin of victory: 36) who tried to stick Kentucky’s ridiculously loaded roster will ever even make the NBDL. At this point in his young career, Wall’s the Avatar of basketball: looks amazing, shallow substance.

Zachariah Blott cannot recommend Rick Telander’s “Heaven Is A Playground” enough.

No CommentsPosted by ETB Contributor on Jan. 29, 2010 at 8:41am in NBA

The NBA’s Top Eight Cases of Buyer’s Delight

January 27, 2010

Rajon Rondo Photo Credit: Icon SMI

By Brian Spencer

Good contracts are getting harder and harder to come by in today’s NBA, but they’re still out there. And I’m not talking about rookie deals, which are mostly done on scale and often provide great value for those teams lucky enough to hit on their pick. For the purposes of this piece, which serves as the sister companion to last week’s “Top Eight Cases of Buyer’s Remorse“, I’ve omitted all rookie deals and contracts that expire in the next season or two, and exclusively focused on eight of the top bang-for-your-buck contracts in the NBA.

Rajon Rondo, PG, Boston Celtics

There was a time last summer when Danny Ainge and Celtics brass toyed with the notion that Rajon Rondo, their 23-year-old point guard who’d just triple-doubled three times during the playoffs (and nearly did it another five or six times), was an expendable asset. A trade chip. Lucky for them, teams like the Detroit Pistons didn’t bite on the reported overtures coming from Boston, and Rondo stayed put. I’d now argue that once this season is up, and once that championship clock keeps ticking ever faster on the KG-Allen-Pierce era, Rondo will be the most valuable long-term asset the Celtics have.

And they’ll have him locked up at the right price.

After the book closes on this 2009-10 season, Rondo stands to make $55 million over the next five seasons, a span which, if it follows his career trajectory so far, should see him challenge for perennial All-Star status and blossom into one of the NBA’s elite players at the point. Actually, he’s sort of already there having elevated his game to new heights in this his fourth season out of Kentucky. His per-game averages in points (14.1), field-goals (53%), assists (9.6), and steals (2.5) are all career bests; take him out of the lineup, and you’re going to see the Celtics flounder more than, perhaps, they’ve floundered sans KG. He’s that valuable, and that he’ll make an average of just $11 million during his youthful prime is a steal for the Celtics.

Paul Millsap, F, Utah Jazz

A lot was made of the Portland Trail Blazers’ “toxic” contract offer to Millsap last summer during his restricted free agency. The Jazz, of course, had the right to match any offer no matter how big it was or how much it put them over the cap, but many thought they’d relent and allow their promising 24-year-old big man to walk. They couldn’t possibly decide to pay Deron Williams, Andrei Kirilenko, Carlos Boozer, Mehmet Okur, and Millsap an excess of $9 – $16 million each, at least so the Blazers’ hopes went.

Well, they obviously did, and though they’re now left scrambling to ease the luxury-tax burden of their spending spree, in the long run Millsap should prove worth the upfront investment. Unfortunately, it probably won’t bear fruit this season as long as Boozer’s around, but barring a change of financial heart, the latter will be selling his services to the highest bidder this summer, and that bidder won’t be Utah. Enter Millsap, who in 38 games as a starter last season averaged 16 points, 10.3 boards, 2.4 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1 block per; big numbers for a guy who slipped to the middle of the second round on draft day in ’06 due to ‘tweener concerns (he’s listed at 6-8).

We’ll see if he can replicate that production over the course of a full 82-game season as a starter, but in all likelihood we’ll find out next year… the first of three remaining seasons in which he’ll collect a modest total of $20 million.

Thabo Sefolosha, GF, Oklahoma City Thunder

The traditional preamble every time we’ve brought up Sefolosha over the past, oh, 3 years is that he’s an underrated gem in this league and one of our favorite players with untapped potential. Well, young Thabo is now a ripe 25 years old, in his fourth NBA season, and doesn’t look like he’ll ever be a dynamic scorer or shutdown defender. That’s fine, I’m not sure that he needs to be either one to make a sizable impact for the fledgling Thunder franchise.

We’ve said it something like 100 times, and I’ll say it once more: every team could use a Sefolosha (or two) on their roster. At a long 6-7, the Swiss Army Knife can lineup as a two or three, play above-average man defense on some of the league’s most deadly shooters, score opportunistic buckets, and cause turnovers. I’ve seen him get hot from the field on occasion, but those efforts have been few and far between and will continue to be with Durant, Westbrook, Green, & Co. dominating the offense.

Sefolosha is not a star, never will be, but he’s a multi-talented glue guy who plays hard and knows his role. If this team continues transforming itself into a Western Conference power, and works their way into the NBA Finals before the remaining 4 years and $13.8 million are up on Sefolosha’s bargain-basement deal, you can book him right now as a guy who makes a crucial play–a contested jumper, a steal, a block, something–to seal a game in the Finals.

Five more cases of NBA buyer’s delight after the break…

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5 CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Jan. 27, 2010 at 3:23am in ETB Articles, NBA

Something Smells Foul in Cleveland

January 26, 2010

LeBron James

LeBron James Photos Credit: Icon SMI

By: Zachariah Blott

LeBron James’ statistics are amazing. He’s putting up 30 points, 7 boards, and 8 assists per for essentially the sixth season in a row, and there are exactly zero players who can get close to that trio of numbers for even one season. But he’s doing something else, just as consistently, that no one else of consequence is able to do: not get called for fouls.

Look at the personal fouls column for the top-10 scorers in the league. Nine of them collectively average 2.7 fouls per, falling within the range of 2.3 – 3.4. These nine include some of the NBA’s biggest names who obviously have “earned some calls,” guys who can easily score 10 from the charity stripe in a night while getting the refs’ attention for only their two most obvious hacks.

And the tenth player? That would be James, who averages 1.8–and that’s rounded up. Many people suspect the league helps protect the Wades, Kobes, Anthonys, and other marquee players who keep those turnstiles turning, but how in God’s green earth does LeBron absolutely smoke them all in not getting whistled for defensive misdeeds?

And this isn’t the first time he’s been in the referee’s good graces to this degree. Last year, James averaged 1.7 fouls per. Going backwards from there, you have 2.2, then 2.2, then 2.3, then 1.8, then 1.9… then he was at his high-school prom. Not only is 2.3 fouls per the worst of LeBron’s career, it actually marks the best in the careers of both Wade and Bryant.

Is James, who happens to be the most marketable guy in the league, just that much superior to everyone at not fouling players? We’ve all seen him play, and he’s obviously a very good defender, but he’s no Shane Battier, Ron Artest, Gary Payton, Dennis Rodman, or Bill Russell. James, however, has done a much, much better job than any of them at not being whistled.

Breaking down in great detail LeBron James’ “amazing” fouls rate after the break…

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76 CommentsPosted by ETB Contributor on Jan. 26, 2010 at 3:15am in ETB Articles, NBA

Boxscore Breakfast: Jarrett Jack’s Wildly Efficient Nine-Shot Night, and Other Oddities from the Week

January 24, 2010

Dwyane WadeBy: Zachariah Blott

Milwaukee got Jacked up: Toronto Raptors PG Jarrett Jack had one of the most efficient scoring nights of the year on Friday, helping to put away the Bucks 101-96. Jack needed only nine shots to register a game-high 27 points: that’s 7-9 FG, 2-4 triples, and 11-12 from the free-throw line. To put this in perspective, here are the points and shots taken by some big-name scorers Friday: Wade, 32 pts on 19 FGA; Nowitzki, 15 pts on 13 FGA; Joe Johnson, 19 pts on 17 FGA; Bryant, 27 pts on 24 FGA; Ellis, 4 pts on 9 FGA; Stoudemire, 23 pts on 15 FGA. For the year, Jack is averaging 10.5 points per and 7.7 FGA.

Little man in a big man’s world: Dwyane Wade, who’s listed at 6-4, had back-to-back 3-block games last week, sending back a trio of Thunder shots on January 16 and doing the same against the Pacers on January 19. Not even a week earlier, on January 11, Wade had another 3-rejection night, that time against Utah.

Dwyane Wade Photo Credit: Icon SMI

For the season, the shooting guard is averaging 1.2 blocks per, good enough to rank among the league’s best 30, ahead of big men such as Al Jefferson, Chris Bosh, and Shaquille O’Neal. In fact, the most comparably built player to Wade on the top-40 blocks list is 6-8 SF Shane Battier. How does the little guy do it? He’s dynamic as hell; statistics aside, Wade might be the closest thing we have to Oscar Robertson in today’s NBA.

I would still never let this guy near my team: Zach Randolph keeps on posting 20-10 games like they’re going out of style, including 4 of them in 6 days between January 15-20. Through that January 20 loss at New Orleans, Z-Bo had 20 20-10 games on the season (during which Memphis is 14-6); this ranks second only to Chris Bosh’s 26. This next fact should raise some eyebrows: even with his multi-faceted statistical domination of the league, LeBron James only has 11. Randolph’s pers for the year are 20.8 and 11.5.

Zachariah Blott cannot recommend Rick Telander’s “Heaven Is A Playground” enough.

No CommentsPosted by ETB Contributor on Jan. 24, 2010 at 12:08pm in NBA

The State of the NBADL, with D-League Digest’s Steve Weinman – Part I

January 21, 2010

NBA D-League

By Brian Spencer

The NBA D-League is a good thing that has the potential to be a very good thing for professional basektball in the United States. We want to see it thrive, expand, succeed. Unfortunately, like most people, we rarely get to see anything from these games beyond the brief late-night highlights on NBA TV. ESPN and Fox Sports barely touch it, which means that casual b-ball fans barely even know it exists.

Enter writers like Steve Weinman, the thoughtful wordsmith behind D-League Digest who’s helping introduce the D-League to a wider audience and revealing its teams, players, and coaches through comprehensive coverage and analysis on the everyday happenings in the NBA’s still-developing minor-league system. The guy knows his stuff, and in the wake of the recent D-League Showcase in Boise, we’re fortunate to have a two-part Q&A with him here on Empty the Bench.

Let’s get to it… stay tuned for Part II.

Empty the Bench: I read a report that said NBA executives left this year’s D-League Showcase in Boise saying it was the worst crop of talent they’ve seen yet. What’s your take?

Steve Weinman: I saw that line from Marc Spears as well, and truth be told, I’m not sure what to make of it. As someone who followed the D-League peripherally in previous seasons and has become much closer to it over the last 2 years or so, especially now that I’m covering the league on a regular basis, I’m not I’m the best person to compare the overall talent distribution between this year’s Showcase and previous ones.

But what I do know is this: the executives I spoke to certainly sounded positive about the way the D-League is moving. With the Rockets’ use of the hybrid model in Rio Grande Valley, GM Daryl Morey and his crew from Houston have been very involved in bringing in the players there, and Morey said the situation with RGV has been fantastic from his perspective.

Between Morey and other executives I spoke with, there was plenty of chatter about an expansion of the D-League’s role and a desire to have NBA teams hold player rights outside of their 15 roster spots. One would think some of that excitement would have been tempered if the player crop were all that uninspiring.

None of that, however, is meant to dispute Spears’ report. One of the great things about the Showcase is that it simply crawls with team staffers, and I don’t profess to have had a chance to speak with all of them. Marc is a terrific reporter, and I have no doubt he talked to plenty of sources on this. Still, I didn’t leave the conversations I had with the same vibe that he did.

As for what my own eyes tell me about this year’s group of players, I think there are several players around the D-League capable of being at least fringe NBA players right now if the roster spots become available, and a few youngsters who will be at that point before too long as well. Speaking of which…

ETB: Spud Webb, the President of Basketball Operations for the new team in San Francisco that debuts next season, recently said he thinks there are “four or five guys [in the D-League] that are pro players.” Name the four or five guys you feel have the best shot at not just getting called up to the NBA, but making an impact and sticking around.

Weinman: Anthony Tolliver would be the easy front-runner for this list, but let’s rule him ineligible since he received his second call-up of the season last week, this time to Golden State. Tolliver is a do-it-all big man who posts up, crashes the glass, and defends, but can also handle the ball a little bit and shoot from the outside. Love watching him play.

Of players currently in the D-League, Mike Harris from Rio Grande Valley (he of the recent 48-24 performance) already received one call-up this season (to Houston) and will likely be back sooner or later. He’s a bruising forward who loves to bang around inside, pounds the glass (8.9 per game this year in the D-League) and is also developing his offensive arsenal from mid-range and beyond. The big question for Harris right now is position: playing in RGV’s three-guard lineup, he’s played something of a big-man role at times this year, and he’s been successful at it, but he’s also just 6-6. Whether Harris has the quickness and whether he will develop the outside game to be a successful small forward remains to be seen, but he does too many things too well to not get another good shot to stick in the Association.

Carlos Powell of Albuquerque is a terrific offensive player who can score from inside and out, and isn’t a liability at the defensive end either. In our last edition of the Randy Livingston Memorial Call-Up Rankings, hosted at Ridiculous Upside, I was the only one of four panelists to rank the southpaw as low as second on the list.

Sitting on top of that call-up rankings list before Powell usurped the top spot was Dontell Jefferson from Utah. Widely expected to fill the Jazz’s need for a backup point guard before some late-breaking concerns about the health of his knees led to Idaho’s Sundiata Gaines getting that call (and please remember to go ahead and ask the Cleveland Cavaliers how that one turned out), Jefferson is a 6-5 point guard with the skills and size to play both backcourt spots. He’s a dynamic slasher who also scores from the outside, gets to the foul line with regularity, and distributes the ball unselfishly. His height, length, and quickness allow him to defend ones and twos, and that would allow an NBA team to use him to cross-match defensively if need be.

While four people does not a complete list make, and there are several other guys who deserve to be in this discussion – Rod Benson (Reno) has been around and offers size and defense (though I’m not enamored with him), Morris Almond (Springfield) is a super-dyanmic scorer who we’ll get to later, Mustafa Shakur is doing a terrific job in Tulsa, Dwayne Jones (Austin) has NBA size and eats up offensive boards, and I’m sure there are a few noteworthy folks I’m omitting here to boot – I’ll stray a bit from the beaten path with a personal favorite for my final selection here: Rio Grande Valley’s Antonio Anderson.

He may not be at the top of the call-up list right now, and he has slumped through January after earning performer-of-the-month honors in December, but Anderson’s versatility makes him really promising. He’s a 6-6 off-guard by trade, but he handles the ball plenty for RGV and is a terrific passer. In fact, Vipers brass believe he’ll even be able to get a spot at the next level as a second or third-string point guard.

That’s not to mention that the guy who garnered all sorts of defensive accolades during his collegiate tenure at Memphis has made a successful transition to the D-League game at that end of the floor as well. AA needs to become a more consistent outside shooter, but his mid-range game is already improving, and he’s just a smart decision-maker on the floor. I’m buying him as a permanent NBA player within the next two seasons.

Much more from D-League Digest’s Steve Weinman after the break…

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2 CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Jan. 21, 2010 at 10:33am in ETB Articles, Interviews, NBA

At Least He Can Laugh About It…

January 21, 2010

Check out the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Damien Wilkins exclamation-marking the OKC Thunder’s Nenad Krstic. Then watch for the discussion afterwards at the free-throw line… classic. Well played, both of ‘em, except for maybe the getting posterized part.

No CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Jan. 21, 2010 at 1:46am in NBA

NBA Writers Roundtable: Which NBA Team is the Least Fantasy Hoops Friendly?

January 20, 2010

Tayshaun and Rip

Tayshaun Prince & Rip Hamilton Photo Credit: Icon SMI

By Brian Spencer

We’re up again as hosts of the weekly fantasy hoops roundtable, which runs throughout the NBA season and along with us features the writers below. A little over a month ago we discussed the fantasy (ir)relevance of Tracy McGrady and Allen Iverson, and this time around the topic is:

Which NBA team is the least fantasy hoops friendly?

Joining Me at the Fantasy Hoops Roundtable:

- Tommy Beer, HoopsWorld
- Ryan Lester, Lester’s Legends
- Alex Woods, BleacherCreatureRotoTalk
- Nels, Give Me The Rock

ETB’s Pick:

It’s a close call between the Detroit Pistons and New Jersey Nets, two craptacular offensive powder puffs at the bottom of the league in team scoring, field-goal percentage, and assists, but the difference between them is that the Pistons actually have some established, proven firepower; they just haven’t gotten it done so far. Attribute it to lingering injuries (Rip Hamilton, Ben Gordon, Tayshaun Prince, Will Bynum) or to disappointing play (Charlie Villanueva, at times Rodney Stuckey), but either way this team, whose strength was supposed to be on the offensive end, has given fantasy owners very little to cheer about. Never would have thought that 35-year-old Ben Wallace would be the most valuable fantasy contributor.

Still, at least the Pistons have guys who should, theoretically, pull it together at some point: outside of emerging stud Brook Lopez, the Nets’ likely fantasy assets have been shockingly inadequate. It starts at the point with Devin Harris, who’s taken a sizable step back in his second full season in Jersey in addition missing games, as usual. His shooting (38%), points (15.9), free throws (78%), boards (3.2), assists (6), and steals (1.6) are all down–in some cases way down–compared to last season.

Beyond that, at 27 years old next month, Harris is suddenly anything but a slam dunk as the team’s PG of the future. There have been whispers that he’s readily available on the trade block, which makes sense if the team is angling for standout Kentucky PG John Wall in this June’s NBA draft. They’ll certainly have the most ping-pong balls in the hopper.

Add to Harris’ fantasy misery that of Courtney Lee (39% FG, 27% 3PT), Yi Jianlian (points and boards only), the steady fade of Chris Douglas-Roberts, and… that’s where the fantasy prospects stop. Ugly.

Nels, Give Me The Rock

With a little bit of fancy statistical analysis using the GMTR Player Rater, Patrick and I came to the conclusion that the Detroit Pistons are easily the least fantasy-friendly team in the league. If I had to hypothesize without looking at any stats, I probably would have said San Antonio, since they’re so slow and their players aren’t doing all that great this season; looking at the stats, though, they’re actually doing better than I thought they were.

We came up with Detroit by taking the top 156 players from the Player Rater (156 is the number of players in a 12 player x 13 team league), and then comparing on two stats. First, we took the average of rank of the players on each team, and second, we counted the number of players in the Top 156 from each team.

The worst team in the league for average ranking was the Detroit Pistons with 111.50. Compound that lackluster performance by placing only four players in the Top 156, and all of a sudden, you’ve found yourself with the least fantasy-friendly team in the league.

The only teams with less players in the Top 156 are the Cavs and the Pacers, who both have three players in the Top 156, but they ended up at 2nd and 8th in average player ranking, and adding one more guy to get them to the four that Detroit has is not going to sink anyone’s battleship. The Magic are actually close with their average player ranking of 101.80, and five players in the Top 156, but again, if you add another player to Detroit to match them up with Orlando’s five, then their average ranking is only going to torpedo their submarine.

HOOPSWORLD, Lester’s Legends, and BleacherCreatureRotoTalk after the break…

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4 CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Jan. 20, 2010 at 9:40pm in NBA, NBA Fantasy News

Reading is Great! NBA Trade Rumors, News, and Birdmen Pitching Mattresses

January 20, 2010

Reading NBA Blogs is fun!

- Daily Thunder – The midseason report card on your OKC Thunder is in.
- Full-Court Press – Meanwhile, cast your votes for the Pistons’ midseason grades. (Ugh.)
- Celtics Hub – The Celtics have expressed their fondness for Nate Robinson.
- A Stern Warning – All about big, tall men who drain deep, long balls.
- Clipper Blog – LeBron James as a Clipper? Hey, you never know (and it’s okay to dream).
- It’s Just Sports – Knicks GF Wilson Chandler reminisces about his high-school days.
- NBA FanHouse – Andrei Kirilenko, happy—and wealthy—in Salt Lake City.
- Ball Don’t Lie – Meet the Orlando Magic, the NBA’s most underwhelming good team.
- Hornets 24/7 – A case for Emeka Okafor, not Chris Paul, as the Hornets’ most vital player.
- Basketbawful – Greg Oden, songbird, takes on the Backstreet Boys.
- BleacherCreatureRotoTalk – Talking fantasy hoops and rotisserie strategy.
- The Sports Hernia – Recent studies confirm that the New Jersey Nets suck.
- Truth About It – Antawn Jamison has no patience for apathetic teammates.
- StacheketballWe’re big fans of local NBA ads; great one starring the Birdman below.

1 CommentPosted by Brian Spencer on Jan. 20, 2010 at 4:28am in NBA

Happy 500, Basketball Jones…

January 19, 2010

Major props and sincere congrats are due for the hard-working gentlemen behind The Basketball Jones, which for the benefit of the uninitiated is, by far, your planet’s best and most entertaining podcast about NBA hoops. Somehow they find the time to do it 5 days a week (subscribe to it on iTunes), and last Friday celebrated their 500th episode by blowing it out to a live performance at Toronto’s Drake Hotel. Looked to have been quite the silly affair, as you’ll see in the video below. They also debuted their hot new tees.

In addition to his daily duties behind the TBJ desk, Steve Nash look-alike J.E. Skeets (whom you should follow on Twitter) is at the helm of Ball Don’t Lie, a very fine NBA blog and longtime supporter of your friends here at ETB.

Congrats, guys, and here’s to 500(,000) more.

No CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Jan. 19, 2010 at 8:37pm in NBA

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